"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmans running gifts...one small problem.

Christmas this year held a couple surprises.

The first surprise was the Kahtoola micro spikes Andy got me.
Ken and Matt are always talking about theirs. I just run in their shadows trying to hang with the big dogs. I am such a sidekick. They keep asking me when I am getting these spike for trail running in the winter. Andy found a FB thread where I was chatting with someone about not being able to run on the trails because I didn't have the proper spikes. His sleuthing discovered I wanted these Kahtoolas. When I opened the box I was shocked. I also was scared, because I have no more excuses for not running on the trails other than being a big baby.
Andy bought me a new winter Nike thermal running shirt. It is always nice to get new thermal clothing. Winter clothing only lasts about 2 seasons, once they begin to get stinky it is really hard to get the funk out.
And the headband, the coolest thing ever! That was a gift from Kris. She got matching ones for Rachel, her and I.

But yes, there is another gift I have not mentioned. I have not mentioned it to anyone until today. This morning I met Kris and Ken out at Holly Rec to run the trails. We were all talking about our race schedules for next year. It was the perfect segue.
"So Andy got me another surprise Ultra gift...."

Greenback, TN.
Firewater Ultra

One small problem. I already told Kris we would do out first 100M next year. We both looked and investigated times, races, terrains and our schedules. I really wanted Ken and Matt to be out there too, but they have their own race schedules. If I have them to help train me that is most important.

The two ultras Kris and I were looking at were:

And Firewater falls RIGHT SMACK in the middle of the two.
I have a problem.
And I only have 2 days to figure it out. That is when the registration prices increase.

So if anyone has any suggestions, that would be great! Pray that I have favor with the race director when I email them!

Amish Banana Bread with glaze.
2c. flour
1c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup. butter
3 bananas mashed

Sift flour. Measure and sift with backing powder, soda and salt.
Cream butter. Add sugar gradually. Add eggs one at a time. Beat thoroughly, then add mashed bananas; blend well. Stir in dry ingredients. Pour into greased bread pan.
Bake at 350' for 60 minutes or until center is completely done.

Alec asked me to glaze the bread.

1 tablespoon melted butter, dash salt, 1/4 tsp vanilla 1 tablespoon milk and 1 cup powdered sugar
Mix, add more butter or sugar to get a thick but runny consistency. I really don't measure it, I am guessing on these measurement.

I also make mini loaves. Alec was grabbing them before I had the glaze on them all.
"Mom, this is my favorite dessert!"

My heart was full.

Time: 1:46
Pace: 10:27
We planned to run the trails, only the trails were a sheet of lumpy ice. We bailed when we reached the McGinnis Rd. From that point we ran the backroads with a crazy amount of elevation. The hills came one after another.
Max Gain 840ft.
Max Elevation 1,115ft.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Be Careful what you Capture.

What do you do when you can't sleep? GET UP.
My body or my mind gave me no sympathy for winter break.
Andy came to bed around midnight. I was sleeping great until that. I tossed and turned not able to turn my mind off. My legs twitched, my prayers felt unanswered and I laid there suffering.

I got up with Andy at 6:30am.
I cradled a cup of coffee between my hands and quietly snuck into the living room. With my fuzzy blanket and dim lit lights I curled up on the recliner trying to figure out what kept me up all night.
Self inventory. Always  painful in my imperfect state.

I kissed Andy goodbye and went back to my place on the recliner.

I was really hoping Jeff was meeting me at Genesys. I needed accountability.

I sent him a text "Are you getting ready for the gym?"
Within seconds I got a reply " Nita- I am already here.....I couldn't wait to torture myself!"

I was up and literally running through the house getting ready. My bag was already packed and waiting for the 14 minute drive to Genesys.

I looked at my watch and I ran with my big gym bag across the parking lot. 7:32am.
"This is great." I told myself smiling. I was very pleased with my early start.

I looked across the massive gym floor looking for my little buddy. Jeff was holding my favorite treadmill for me. With his head down and his arms resting on the TM bars he didn't see me sneak up behind him. I startled him, breaking his stretching pose.

Jeff actually might be more chatty than even I am. He looked at the guy on his left and said something about me putting him through some sort of torture.
I gave my most innocent smile and said "Yeah right, your going to put the hurting on me!"

Jeff was running 4 miles, I was running 5 miles and both of us were on limited time.
I started out with a slow mile. Conversational pace, even a laughable pace, because that is what we were doing a lot of, laughing at both of our goofiness.

Playtime was ending fast. Jeff started pushing the speed button. I knew that meant I had to as well. When I reached mile 4, I was a half a mile ahead of him.
He punched the button again.
"JERKFACE, your killing me." I cried. I got tickled looking at Jeff knowing he was enjoying this.
He punched the button again.
That was about all I said that last mile. I concentrated on my posture, my breathing, staying calm and increasing my pace the last couple laps.
The torture felt good. It was purging. Every annoyance, every burden, everything that was renting space in my head at that moment was buried. It was no where to be found and I wasn't going looking for it. I wanted more. More pain, more sweat, more torture. I loved the fact that I was IN CONTROL of the torture that I inflicted on myself. I was in control. Not my emotions, not my imperfections, not the voices I couldn't shut off.
For that 5 miles I was in control.

I wish I could bottle up that joy. The laughter shared with good friends. It feels safe. Like I am in a bubble away from distractions. Life so quickly interrupts and pulls you back to reality.

I am very grateful for the moments of joy. Good friendships. Good times. Laughter really is great medicine.

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 41.02
Pace: 8:15min/mi
Finished up with 100 weighted crunches, 5 sets of 20 on the incline bench.

Be Careful what you Capture. Sometimes it controls YOU.
Not to long ago I got a private message from a cousin of mine who struggles with addiction. I knew automatically from the beginning of the note he had relapsed and was most likely wasted. I tried not to take the note to personal. My heart hurt so bad for him.
Until he brought up Andy. Then I wanted to come out swinging.
He was glorifying his addiction. Comparing himself to Andy. He was bragging about what a REAL addict was.  Bragging about the things he had done and the drugs he used.  He knows nothing about Andy or his addiction. He sees a man who is a professional. A clean cut, well groomed family man. He sees a churchy guy who came from a cookie cutter house.
He believes that addiction has to be UGLY on the outside. It has to show jail time, or prison time, physical abuse, custody battles, loss of jobs, relationships, and the list goes on.
AND WHILE ALL THIS IS TRUE...there are still some out there that are able to disguise their addiction a little better.
Our home was as UGLY as anyone could imagine. We fought, screamed and cried. Divorce was a word I had really entertained in confusion. I had no idea the demons that were haunting Andy.
It was about this time of the night 12 years ago I learned my clean cut, professional husband was shooting dope in his body, anywhere he could find a vein. He was pale, pasty and 165 pounds at 6'2. And he had been doing it for years.
Andy is in the 1% club for IV drug users. By the grace of God he never overdosed. And Andy never relapsed. He surrendered everything to God and God did a miracle. He worked everyday for sobriety. That was his main job. Literally. He didn't work for 3 months just concentrating on staying clean. Meetings 2 times a day, reading the bible, praying and working in the church. We almost lost our house and my husbands grandma would buy us groceries to help. But even when all the stresses of the world were caving in he still concentrated on staying clean.
A genuine smile.

I am so grateful. You can't do it on your own. You have to surrender, surrender Everything. Let go of what you captured before it controls you.

Clean Sober and Strong!
Romans 8:37 We are more than Conquerors through HIM who loves us."



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tuesday Nite Purge

Tuesday night are always a long and emotional night for me.

I was able to get out of work at 4:15pm giving me time to run to the grocery store to pick up some essentials we had depleted.

Still wearing heals, I rushed through the aisles as quick as I could.
I kept a close eye on my watch as time was slipping by fast and I still had to get home, put the groceries away, make dinner and if I was lucky get to sit for 10 minutes and eat it with the boys.

Not a moment wasted, everything was actually moving in perfect order.
As I was putting the food on the boys plates, I started to think about the addiction group I had to make it to. My mind began to wander, my heart grew heavy as I thought of how everyone made it through the holidays.
I was trying to listen to the boys tell me about their day but I thought about "Judy" and wondered if she was able to smile as her family struggled all around her. I thought about "Lesa" and how it would be her first Christmas without her son who passed away in June.
I couldn't remember eating that last bite of food on my plate as I found myself rinsing the dishes and setting them in the dishwasher.

With my Tim Hortons coffee in one hand and my notebook in the other I walked up the steps of the big white church. I prayed every step asking God to help me, to forgive me, to lead me.
I look forward to Sandra being at the door to greet me. She has the most genuine smile.
"HI ANITA, you look so beautiful." Sandra looked me directly in the eyes with realness.
I blushed and replied "Thank you, I didn't have time to change, you are too sweet."

I was stopped a few times with concerns for people and questions from others. I didn't feel like I could help anyone. I barely felt like I could help myself.

Pastor spoke. He spoke of stories I had heard several times in the 25 years I had been going to the church. I half listened and the other half took notes and begged God to help me to help others.

I took down some notes for my meeting.

Our beliefs determine the differences between Victory and Defeat.

If we feel Helpless and our situation feels Hopeless, we will NEVER change.
Romans 8:37 "We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us."  

Funny how I wrote these few words down and how our meeting directed me to these thoughts on hopelessness.
If we think we are, we are.
If we believe nothing will ever change then we quit before ever starting.
It is a horrible feeling to live life thinking "This is it, this is my life."
Especially when it is a life of pain and suffering. No you can not change others. You can not fix others. You can only manage yourself and your reaction to the life that is circling you.

I was able to speak these words to some that felt discouraged by the constant chaos. I know those feelings. I have felt them. I have felt them so deep that life was not worth living. Because the sadness was so overwhelming it blocked out all hope.
But there was a crack, a tiny crack, not visible to anyone. A crack that only God himself knew existed as he penetrated it, bringing forth His light, His hope, his love for me.
Love that I didn't know anything of.  

My Tuesday night notes.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Running in the dark.

Focus. Discipline. Self Control. Will Power.

Distractions. Weakness.

There are days I am so focused. Ready to take everyone and everything on.
Then there are day I am weak, confused, distracted.

Today was one of those days. It all caught up with me. Christmas left me depleted. And when I am tired I am weak in every way.

I spent several hours taking down the Christmas tree and mopping the sap off the hardwood floors.
But the dreary sky and being shut in was penetrating.
I didn't want to eat, I had eaten enough crap the last week. And all that food caught up with me. You are what you eat. And I felt like a lazy hog.

I knew with it being 50 degrees I should at least WANT to run. But what I wanted to do was curl back up on the couch with my fuzzy blanket and my favorite girl, Sheeba.
And that is what I did.

Even though I was snuggled back on the couch, I knew I needed to run.

So many crazy thoughts were ruminating in my head.

Andy got home shortly after 5pm. I was busted spooning Sheeba on the couch, still in my PJ's!
I tried to coax Andy into running.

And all that energy trying to get Andy to run actually convinced me to get it together and RUN.

It was going to be a night run. The more I thought about it the more excited I got.

I didn't pick a route, a distance or even a destination. I was just glad I was off the couch.
The sun was setting. She was being very bashful, still hiding behind the dark clouds.
But her rays pierced through small openings in the sky giving me a little more light to see my path.

It was getting dark quick, but I wanted to see the sun setting on the water, I turned left and headed towards the cemetery.

It was every bit as lovely as I hoped, for a December evening in Michigan.
I had to stop and stare. I stood behind the bare trees. The snow had melted across the water, the sun was setting fast leaving just a glimpse of her light along the base of the lake. I stood there with just 1 layer on. I pondered how long I could just stand there and enjoy the sunset until I got cold.
I lasted about 3 minutes.

I didn't run far, I barely even got warmed up. But I did GET UP, and I got DRESSED and I got to witness something beautiful that I would have otherwise missed on the couch.

After my run, I just didn't want it to end. The emotional part of my run. I took the music out of my ears. In the stillness of the premature night, I just headed into the dark, walking.
It was as dark as the ace of spades. The animals were whispering but I couldn't make out what they were saying. I just embraced the evening as we walked together for just a few more moments.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The most Valuble Gifts.

The last thing I should be doing right now is blogging. I just want to relax my brain. I am totally exhausted, and yet there are a half dozen things that are calling my attention.
Andy is making me cut his hair, I need to make Debbie Cottrels coconut balls, wrapping, mop the floors AGAIN, fold a load of laundry..
Oh! The list goes on and on...
We are having Christmas eve at my house and we have 25 people celebrating with us. Andy tore the lower level up, I am slightly freaking out on how to decorate.

"Anita, you are running tomorrow, with all the stuff you have to do?" Andy yelled very concerned.
"YEP!" I replied.

When I get this stressed, it only makes it worse if I don't get to run.

I was doing abs with Jeff at the gym this morning at 8am. He makes me smile just seeing him walk in my direction. I can hardly do these crazy ab exercises he has me do without laughing. He can not do anything conventional. So most of the things I do with him I laugh all the way through.
In between a set of hanging leg raises I see Jeff behind me doing push ups.
"What the HECK Jeff, I have to do push ups too? Can I do them girly style??"
Jeff smiled, then laughed "Nitagirl, I have seen you hit that bag, you can do them the right way."
He wasn't cutting me any slack.

I wanted to run with Jeff but we were running different programs. So we decided to hit the treadmill.
We were running side by side on treadmill, he was running 4 miles and due to time I was going to try and get at least 5 miles in.
We chatted it up. He could be my father. Andy always says I have "Daddy Issues". I wonder sometimes if he isn't right. I really respect and enjoy listening to Jeff. He is quirky. One of my favorite qualities in a person.
He inspires me to try harder, work harder and he really believes I can do more. He is a numbers guy. He spouts off numbers and my head begins to spin.
He was running pretty fast and without missing a beat went on a 10 minute rant on how I should try to breath on my left foot. Unless I exhale on my right foot...
I was laughing. "REALLY Jeff? You honestly think I know which foot I breath on? I am just happy I am breathing!"
He tried to teach me how to do it...I just shook my head and shared my best listening skills.
"NO, Really Nita, its really easy..."
Hitting my treadmill to go a little faster, I responded "Never going to happen Jeff, Never!"

This was the best part of my day. Mindless running, no stress, no deadlines, no traffic, no use of money, no lines and plenty of laughter.

The Gift of Friendships.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
Yesterday was my birthday and I was reminded how many friendships I have. I worked all day. The girls at work spoiled me with gifts, balloons, lunch and lots of laughter.
The greatest gifts were and are the gifts of friendships.
I checked my phone in the afternoon and had 36 text messages, phones calls and voicemails. I was overwhelmed with love.
43 years old and I have ruffled a few feathers, made a few enemies but never burnt any bridges. I never did any of this intentional. Most people who treat you like they don't care about you, really don't, and YOU are the one that needs to quit fighting for their love and approval.
And when you see ALL those people who love you, think about you, take the time to bless you, that is when you really learn to let the others go.
Learning to embrace those who do value you, who genuinely do love you and not letting the couple haters out there steal your joy is what it is all about.
Embrace your most valuable gifts, the gifts of Friendships.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Anita, Are You Crazy?"

Erin invited me out to Indian Springs to run with her and Claudia.

The girls were running at 2pm but I needed to get a few more miles in.
I headed down the trail about 1:20pm. Straight into the wind.

If any of you have ran Indian Springs in the winter you will understand how brutal that first mile is.
The path is wide open resting in between two plains. This allows the wind to cut right through you.
Even though I was going down hill I was working hard to catch my breath.

The Metropark does a very nice job clearing the 8 mile trail during the winter season. Knowing the trail was going to be cleared I still wore my Yak Trax. The trail still had about a quarter inch of snow on it but I had no problems.

The bummer about the cold weather is, it really drains your batteries. My ipod was on low battery after being half charged and my phones battery was depleting quickly.

My plan: To run the 3 miles to the lollipop circle, then run the 2 mile circle backwards until I met up with the girls.

"Say Hello To my Little Friend"
As I just passed the 4 mile marker, I came out to a open area of the trail. The snow was very high and a brilliant shade of white. The snow glistened as the sun danced off top of the untouched snow.
Something caught my eye on the side of the path where they had plowed a small snow curb.
It was a animal. My curiosity grew and so did my sense of humor, sick sense of humor.
It was a very frozen possum.
I got real close. I bent down to get a closer look. Then I remembered possums "Play Dead". I gently kicked it to his other side. Then I picked it up. He was not faking it.

My wheels were turning...

After running the circle 2 times, I began to calculate how far out Erin was out and how many miles I would be running total.
I knew they should be coming within the next 10 minutes. I  cleared a spot on the bench and paused my watch.
I didn't sit more than 3 minutes. I don't sit well and I was getting cold. It was only 18 degrees out. I ran around, looking down the trail for them to come. After a few minutes, I saw Claudia's bright green windbreaker. I started running towards them. Dancing more than running. I was wearing my red Santa hat making me want to kick up my feet and do the happy dance all the way towards them.

I was at 7 miles when I met them. I was so excited to show them my little friend. We came to where the field opened up. "Hey Girls, I cant wait to introduce you to my little friend.."
The girls had NO IDEA. They didn't even see the possum icicle in the snow bank when I ran towards him. I reached down to picked him and Claudia started screaming. "OHH MY G@#! You are NOT picking that UP!!" I was so glad I had used the bathroom, I was cracking up. Erin was holding the camera dying of laughter right along with me. Claudia took off like the possum was coming back from the dead. "Erin, take my picture for Jama, she will LOVE it!" Even though Jama was not running with us, she is my road kill partner. She has a small obsession with dead animal and bones.

By the time we had finished running, I had finished 14 miles. I did that loop 4 times.
My phone died, my iPod died, and I forgot my water bottle at the bathrooms. I didn't want to run another 5 miles to get it. I wanted to get home and get warm.

Good Times! Never a dull moment!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

When words Hurt.

It took everything to just fall asleep. Words circulated in my head causing mayhem. I questioned "WHY?"
Why were these words spoken directly to me?
What were the intentions of them?
When I had first heard them I swallowed deeply trying not to cry. I was already extremely sensitive. My heart, all month has felt like a piece of china that was broken and tenderly glued back together.
Fragile, vulnerable.

And there the words sat. They manifested in my mind. They sunk their claws deep in my heart and I couldn't loosen the grip.
The words woke me at 4am. I tried to change my thoughts. I asked God to remove the words, to help me forget them. But they were like daggers and the wound was deep.

I have been in this seat many times. I have had words spoken to me that you wouldn't speak to a person you hate.

I was reminded that "Hurting People Hurt people." That is all fine but it is not a "Get out of Jail Free Card."
I have always relied on my Faith to bring me through verbal storms. But that does not mean you come out unscathed.
I was attacked several months ago, it was the worst lip lashing I have ever attended. But even when I left I had peace. I knew my Identity through Christ. And I knew I didn't have to argue or defend myself.

This is such a hard time of year. People are hurting in every direction.
It is not always easy to not go to every argument you are invited to.
It requires great discipline to not react to the hurtful comments. I am not always good at it.
But this time I was.
Setting up boundaries is very important. It protects yourself and it protects others from reactions you may not have control over.

But for me when praying and reading my devotional still left me hurting I knew I needed to RUN.

I am not going to lie. Running was not my first thought. I thought of my mother. All the voices that haunted her. I wanted to drink. I don't drink, not even a glass of wine because of my mother. But that's what I wanted. I want to get a fifth and a crawl back in bed. I want to be numb. I want to go away far far away. Everyone around me drinks when they get stressed. It is totally acceptable. You are a freak now if you DON'T drink.

That thought dissipated quickly. But the words did not.
And bad thoughts invite company. I was being infiltrated by words, thoughts, ideas that were breaking me.

If I could just get to the gym and run. I could be in my comfort zone.
By myself.
In my own world where no one could hurt me. Where I controlled my pain.

Before I started to run, I rolled and stretched. The only rollers left were the ones that look like a torture device. I grabbed it with the thought it was probably the one I should be using all along.
WOW! It hurt. But rather than give up, I kept rolling knowing eventually I wouldn't feel the pain. (I secretly wished this is how I felt about "the words that haunted me". I wished I could just get to the comfortably numb place.)
The Mothership. In shorts, a tank top and a zipper hoodie, I opened the tall glass doors to the track. Initially, it is always so chilly until you get warmed up.
I wanted to run 10 miles. Marathon training has STARTED. And I know I have a lot of work to do.

Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1h 27min
Progressive run:
1. 9:32
2. 9:10
3. 8:57
4. 8:49
5. 8:48
6. 8:46
7. 8:33
8. 8:30
9. 8:18
10. 8:06
I Nailed IT. Now to start dropping times.

I got through the day as I usually do. I smiled, I laughed, and I carried on. I buried, I ignored and I hid my true feelings.
Life has got to move on or it will move right pass you. If you sit on the pity pot too long you will miss some wonderful moments.
Like the 30 minutes with a dear friend of mine who is going through a hard time. To share a cup of coffee, listen to her and be there for her outweighed anything I had going on. It was a sweet time.

As you are asking for little things for Christmas I thought I would share some of my favorites in my GYM BAG:
  1. Burts Bees Facial Cleansing Wipes
  2. Dove DrySpray
  3. Aquage Silkning Oil Hair
  4. Neutrogena  Body Oil
What are you training for? What are some of your favorites?
AND BETTER YET..How do you not let words adhere to you?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Crumbling into Place

Monday, I looked outside and there sat 9 inches of white fluffy snow resting on virtually everything. As beautiful as it appeared from my side of the window, it was much more magnificent to fully experience it.
Everyone was bailing on this past Mondays run. I even was bailing. I didn't have the proper running spikes and running trails sounded like I needed more than spikes, I needed snowshoes and a lot more meat on my bones to stay warm.
Things always work out. The more I looked outside, the more I heard a soft whisper calling my name...The backroads were thick and heavy with the fresh snow and no snow plows.
I was slipping and sliding. It didn't take long to break a sweat. Every muscle that was dormant was soon awakened. It took everything to stay upright. Rather than get frustrated at my clumsiness I found myself laughing out loud.
The sky was dark and eerie, reminding me something out of a werewolf movie. Almost as if I was  running in someone's shadow, only I  never could see them. I felt like I was chasing something dark and at the same time beautiful. As if,  I was flirting with a Vampire. Intriguing, beautiful, charming and altogether dark, mysterious and capable of so much pain.
Distance: 7.5miles
Pace: 10:08
My Ipod even died on this run. It was exactly what was supposed to happen. It was my invitation to take in all the elements and be fully engaged in GODS design. Things were really crumbling into place.
SEALSKINZ: Andy bought me these socks last Christmas and I finally got to try them out in all that snow. OH BABY! They were awesome. I was a bit leery due to the stiff fabric. I thought I would have blister for sure. NO SIR. My feet were so toasty and DRY. Not even a hint of a blister. Not bad for 50$ socks!
TODAY, I got rolling as quick as my feet could hit the ground. I had a lot to do and I didn't have much wiggle room. 10 degrees out was a NO BRAINER for me, I had my gym bag already packed.
I was on the track at Genesys at 7:35am.
Goal:7 miles, push the pace, but its not a race. I wanted to run through suck.
I was fine running alone for the first 2 miles. Then I saw a lady a little younger then me arrive. You can spot a hardcore runner a mile away. She was tall and lengthy. Her hair was pulled high, so her hair wouldn't touch her neck when she was sweating because runners work till they sweat and then keep working.  She was wearing a "RUN WILD ZOO 5K" shirt with 100$ compression socks carrying a water bottle. But it was the look she gave me that showed she meant business. I knew we would be chasing each other out there. I was definitely going to hurt after this run.
I came around the track on the long stretch and spotted her as she was making the turn.
"OK, Nita, just keep her in you eye. Stay with her." I followed her for the next 2 1/2 miles and she picked up her pace. I was running a 8:15min/mi. I was pushing it. I needed to push it. But I had to remind myself, I needed to appreciate the challenge without dying. I entertained the idea of running only 6 miles. She picked the pace up and I knew I couldn't pull another 2.5 miles running a sub 8 min. I just didn't have it. Slowly she disappeared around the track. I still wrestled with bowing out at mile 6. I was running out of time literally.
In the zone, I was trying to maintain a 8:20min pace when a younger girl passed me. It started me and I jumped. I had 2 miles to go. I was going to stay with HER now. I convinced myself I COULD DO IT. It was just how much pain was I willing to experience for the next 16 minutes.
Mile 6, I was at a sub 8 minute mile. I took a deep breath. I embraced the cold draft coming from the outer edge of the track. "Relax Nita, get used to your lungs burning, embrace the pain, you need to work."
I felt my stomach begin to churn. I knew I had nothing to throw up and yet I felt like I was going to vomit. "Run Harder Anita." This really meant, "MAINTAIN your pace you big wuss."
With one lap left, I was still behind her. I chuckled to myself thinking how she blazed pass me and yet she never fully shook me.
I saw the clock as I finished up. I had ran for 57:54 minutes.
7 miles.
I was content. I wanted to beat myself up for thinking that was a "GREAT" run. It wasn't that long ago I wouldn't have even sweat on a run like that let alone think I was going to puke.
But I was happy.  I ran through the SUCK. I didn't Willy Nilly it. If that pace was pushing it, then I pushed it today.

MY Thoughts not YOURS.
I remind others and on days like today I had to remind myself. You can't live everyday chasing your yesterdays. If you do that than you miss out on the victories of today.
My victory was in the pain I pushed through. It was on not quitting at mile 6. It was on meeting my goal. I had a lot to be smiling for, and that is exactly how I left the track. Smiling.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

When you can't trust yourself.

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."

Those days you can't get motivated.

No one was up at 6:20am. This only allowed me to curl my body back up under the sheets. I cuddled deeper under the covers knowing I just had minutes before LIFE had to awaken.

This accounted for day 2 of no energy for me, stupid thyroid. I felt like a cast member from the Walking Dead. I didn't even have the energy to be mad at my body for forsaking me.

I had full intentions of going to the gym at 7am. That was a fleeting thought, it went to Hell in a hand basket. My packed gym bag sat there and I sat on the couch sipping coffee.

I barely had the motivation to redirect my day. There was only 1 certainty in my day; I was not running outside. Way to cold and windy.

Running on fumes, I made it to GAC (Genesys Athletic Club).  Also known as The Mothership. I was still talking myself into running. The whirlpool sounded way better. That and the sauna was more my speed today.

ONLY there was 1 Major Problem: ME.

The voices were raging inside me. My mind was a battlefield.
This is such a hard time of year. I should be in a little white room with padded walls. I work really hard on my smile. I am on my knees a lot asking God to help me sift through this dysfunctional barrage of emotions.
Terrible memories, missed memories, and memories I long for. Disappointments, hurtful words, fake smiles, and many concerns I will crack.
It's one thing to not trust others.
Its a whole nother thing when you cant trust yourself.

I saw my treadmill. 20 TM's and this guy has to be running next to mine.
Well, I guess I was the one running next to him.
Everything felt in sync. I took off like a stallion but very quickly was reminded of my misjudgment. My overzealous pace already had my forehead beading sweat and my skin all tingly. I was trying to act cool as I punched the buttons on the treadmill, slowing it down. My heart rate slowly came back down as did my pace.
This guy and I were running the same beat. I caught him a couple times looking over at me. I smiled at him, blushed and looked back at the TV's. Awkward.

He stayed next to me during my whole 7 miler. It was nice to have a secret running partner.
Distance: 7miles
Time: 59
Pace: 8:20

You know what else was nice? Running some of that crazy out of me.

I did some abs, stretched, rolled, showered and enjoyed the sauna for the cherry on top! The heat was soo nice. For a brief second, I forgot it was only 32' degrees.

I am working on my Christmas List.... Running Items...Stocking stuffers....


"If you weren't so crazy I would think you were insane." The Joker, Suicide Squad

Monday, December 5, 2016

Reunited and it feels so good!

After weeks of races, recovery and rest, the gang reunited!!

I was the first to arrive at Holly Rec.
Five minutes past 9am, Ken's Silverado pulled in. I reached into my gym bag, resting on the passengers seat to start the final process. Looking for my gloves and hat, Matt slipped by me. He tucked his Subaru in-between Ken and I honking his horn like a crazy man. Laughing at his entrance, I chuckled even harder as Matt looked like he was in a full blown grand mal seizure shaking with excitement.
It felt like that final stretch when you can see the roller coasters at Cedar point. You start smiling, your heart skips a beat, and you remember how much fun it used to be. We were all super stoked.
Like a bunch of 5 year old girls, we all collided in one big group hug. These 2 knuckleheads brought me through a lot of training. Taught me things that I should have been given a bill for. I didn't realize how much I missed them.

One thing I really missed, 90' degrees.
It was 38'degrees and I looked like I was running in the Artic compared to Matt and Ken. They were both in shorts. I really felt like a wuss with my 3 layers on; hat, Buff, gloves, Pepto-Bismol colored tights and smart wool socks.

We had a welcome committee in the park, a soft layer of fresh winter snow. Our first snow fall.
Although it might seem romantic and lovely, it was quite the opposite.

Matt lead, with Ken in the center and me in my favorite place, the tail end. The snow had started melting on the trails, leaving them a sloshy wreck.
Our feet were sliding with the slightest cantor in the trail. The leaves were thick and wet beneath us adding more mayhem. Ken was slipping all over in front of me. I got tickled and like any good friend kept laughing at him. He responded more goofy then eloquent making me have to grab myself I was laughing so hard. It was at that moment I knew I was pretty comfortable around the boys.

Running with the boys breaks' EVERY rule I have ever made. I never ran with guys. You just can't trust anyone. And I don't trust anyone. Anyone. A character defect, one of many.
1Thess. 5:22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil."
Gods word even warns you against how THINGS LOOK from the outside looking in. And trust me, I have had some eye brows raised from my female tribe.
But these guys brag about their rock star wives. We all chat about how great our spouses are. This is different from running with the girls. Girls sometimes get together and share spousal irritations. We all do it, me included. Honestly speaking.
I have met both Matt and Kens wives and they are both runners. All of us run and so do our spouses, these are very rare dynamics. Another added bonus.

Back to our run.
RUN...Ba ha. I would hardly call it a run. Ken is finally on the mends but still a tad bit weak. Matt was very kind stopping more than his bare legs wanted but laughing and cutting up with us. They shared their running adventures like old times. Much more comfortable with them I found myself chiming in and possibly even interrupting them. That's comfortable.

The trails were vacant of any wildlife. I think our laughter scared anything breathing miles away from us.
The temperatures had warmed up by our second loop. My shoes were soaked in mud. I could actually feel grit in by toes.

We finished the last loop a little after 11. It was our slowest trail run to date. But it might have been one of the most fun group runs yet.

Distance: 10.2
Pace: 12:08

Novembers RUNDOWN

Today was a good day, I had very few thoughts about what it to come. I was very busy today. I had little time to ponder. It is quickly approaching. Only time will tell.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter WhineFest.

The days are closing in.
One more day closer.
It is coming and there is no way to stop Father Time.

The days are getting shakier. The outcome of my days ahead are more undetermined as that day slowly approaches.

The Christmas songs are beginning to hum. Everywhere you go there is a soft echo of Christmas cheer.

But this morning at church the music was intense.
"Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine"
My body was overcome with emotion. My knees grew weak, I wanted to gently lay down, tearfully I sang.

With emotions resting on every word, I begged for more. But at the same time I quietly asked for the tears to stop.
My heart hurt. I wanted to be hidden. I wanted to be invisible.

Time moves and emotions softly dissolve. By the end of the service, I had my smile widened and I was totally fulfilled.

I can't help laugh at myself. I am always in the moment. Extreme. When I am sad, I live in that moment, its deep, retching, consuming.
When I am happy, I am excited, hyper, outspoken dancing outside of myself.
I accept most of my moments. I have to live in them. FEEL them. Even when it hurts.
There is always a time and a place. Emotions are great, it is controlling them that is the key and not letting them control you. That is the CHALLENGE.

I had a really "HOT" moment about a week ago. I was raging angry. I had to call a girlfriend about a running date. She could tell I was upset,  I said "OK, I have RANT, UGH, give me 2 minutes, let me just go off and I will put it to rest."
After probably even less than 2 minutes, I was done, and we moved on to better news.
NOT letting that negativity control you is the most freeing feeling.

Today, full of a barrage of emotions, I was really looking forward to running. Most of my emotions stemmed from being sore from a leg workout Thursday and the reality that Winter had arrived.

I didn't have a lot of time to run. I could have ran farther but I didn't want to run alone in the cold. Thankfully,  I had Lacey for a little over an hour.
Both of us were still in the hurt locker from leg workouts. Both of us felt slow. I loved knowing that I was not a lone island.

It was just so cold. My bones hurt. My skinny fingers looked aged in the bitter elements.
I got 10.5 miles in. And it only took 2 hours to quit chattering my teeth.
Let the Winter WhineFest begin!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Its the little Things

I stopped, turned around. I walked closer to the edge of the dirt road. My heart was pounding, sweat was trickling down my back and my hands started to shake.
I felt the quiver of emotions gently rising. The sun hugged my back, warming me with comfort and peace.
Jeremiah 15:18
Why has my pain been perpetual And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream With water that is unreliable?

Tears softly rolled down my cheeks as I gazed across the rustic pasture. A small stream, almost hidden made its way towards where I stood. The trickling of the brisk November water made a heavenly hum as it danced through the high grasses and rocks. It seemed as if it appeared from no more. A mystery.

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;…"PSALMS 139:13-15

Emotions were so tangled within me, I felt each one slowly unravel. I was no longer standing, I kneeled down in humility, giving God thanks, asking for forgiveness in my brokenness.

I stared out at the calmness that was encompassing me. Questioning what had happened to me, what was this turmoil that had twisted me, I felt more tears warm my cheeks.

Running always helps to unwind me. I looked through my morning and wondered if it was one particular thing or if it was everything added together.

My sleep was restless and broken. The dogs whimpered at 5am to go out. Begrudgingly, I stepped out of the warm bed to let them out.
Was this the culprit of my emotional breakdown?

Coffee is always a soothing morning routine. However, my Keurig was spewing coffee grounds at me like the exorcist.
Was it my lack of coffee and my new broken appliance that bound me up?

I wanted so bad to have it all together. I thought back, or was it the hubby?
Was it Andy throwing things around this morning because he too was having a bad morning?
But even Andy recovered with a heartfelt apology, calling himself a "Douche". I smirked at his apology text, it really was endearing.

I thought back a couple miles before I rested at this place.
I saw a tree.
Its silhouette was perfectly cut against the vast blue sky. It towered full of strength and age.  Its branches were mangled and all twisted together. The heavy branches grew awkwardly outside of a thick strong trunk. Nothing made sense as the tree looked tangled within itself.
I couldn't remember seeing this old beaten tree. I had ran this route so many times and couldn't remember seeing this beautiful mess.
This was me. I felt like this tree. Most people would never recognize me if they could see me naked of my protecting covering. They may think I was ugly, broken, even disturbed. All the things I am.
I am all knotted up, I am woven together like madness. Nothing makes sense...
But God covers me, protects me from even myself. The turmoil is real to me. But most of you see someone who looks like they have it together. Some might even think I have it made.

Isn't this all of us. Or most of us, the honest ones.
We try so hard to have it all together. We look so pretty from the outside. But when the leaves fall...

I was reminded today, that I am "Fearfully and Wonderfully made." I knelt along that stream emotionally twisted and tangled.
I quit trying to "Figure myself out."
I thought of the "Little Things".
The crisp air cooling off my hot cheeks. The smell of grasses surviving the chilly November weather.
The trickle of the stream as it made it way below the backroad where I stood.
And these were just "The Little Things."
I LOVE old barns. This was still a working farm. History is Beautiful. Isn't she lovely?

You ask "Why do You Run?"
"The Little Things"
It grounds me to a place of Gratitude.
It reminds me of A God that perfectly placed each branch, who weaved every offshoot creating a individual masterpiece.
In his perfection, everything is created. His design gets the Glory. It is a few miles of running outside of myself to see a bigger picture.
I am reminded no matter how my day unfolds, HE is always in control. Give Thanks even in the hard times.

Smile. Find Gratitude. Give Thanks. Stay Humble.

"Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever." Psalms 136:1


Sunday, November 27, 2016

One Thanksfull kinda weekend

Gray Skies, sneaking blue
Breathing heavy over the hill.
Startled turkeys fly.

Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, I stuffed my body full.
Thanksgiving Day was great till it wasn't any more. That would be the point my body hated me, my belly looked like I was in my 2nd trimester and I was tuckered out like a 2 year old.

I LOVE being around family during the holidays. Yes, it can be stressful. I am a lot to handle so I always pray that I will practice self control and THINK before I speak. I am loud, ridiculous and can be irritating to the average person.
Most people can only handle me in small doses.

I told someone this past week "HEY, as much as I might drive you crazy, I have to live with myself, think about how I FEEL!"

On Wednesday night, Lacey and I  made 6 costume's for a Turkey Trot at Mott Park.

Andy and I met Ken, Melissa, Lacey, Bob, Rachel and Megan Thursday morning. Bob and Andy were NOT dressing up. They were too "Chicken"!
The race was more of a fun run, untimed. Originally, we were going to run it all together, however; within seconds of the gunshot that plan was gobbled up.
Lacey took off with Andy. Megan stayed with her mom and Bob, her husband, I think was with Melissa.
I looked at poor Ken. He was such a trooper. He has been sick for 3 weeks but came out and put that ridiculous costume on for me. I had to run with him.
The golf course was soaking wet. But we just trudged through it laughing. The bridge was slicker than snot but I even made that fun. I threw my hands out and got as many "HIGH FIVES" as I could from the runners coming across on the other side.
Ken rocked that race, with unknown at the time- pneumonia. I actually thought at one point that he was going to leave me. The last 10th of a mile he slowed up. I saw Andy and Lacey smiling on the side cheering us on.  My eyes were more fixed on a group of 4 runners that all had passed us, I picked it up and passed all of them at the finish. So fun. Ken gave me that smile, the "Way to go smile".
This guy ran over to Ken and I a couple minutes later laughing "OH my gosh, I was watching you pass all the guys at the end, that was great!"   

No amount of running was going to balance the amount of calories I would eat just a few hours later. And I had no guilt. There was a day I couldn't even enjoy Thanksgiving dinner because the food was so rich and heavy. But I work too hard to let that burden me anymore.

Thanksgiving is about FAMILY, Food and Fun. Being Thankful for Family. Embracing one another, loving each other for our differences and our similarities. I can be alone all year, but the holidays only come a few times a year.
I made corn soufflĂ©, mashed potatoes and buttermilk pie. The potatoes were a hit and I made them the night before only to place them in a crockpot on Thanksgiving.

My miles have been down this week. I was really looking forward to running with Lacey today.
It was just her and I today.
We took turns pushing each other. I picked the route. I wanted to run in a different direction. Silly Nita, I picked a hill fest for a route.
Lacey and I chatted for about 6 miles, then we began to get quieter and quieter. So quiet that the last 2 miles all you could really hear was the both of us breathing.
The problem was it was HER last 2 miles. I had to hold the pace over 2 MORE miles and 5 more hills, ALONE back to my house.
My stupid ankle was angry at me and my BUTT was raging at me for all those hills. I felt like Cyclops running all discombobulated.
All I could hear was my breath that last 2 miles home. Trying to keep my mind clear of discouragement I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I jumped at the same time IT jumped. It was a huge turkey. He couldn't get his big old fat body off the ground as he tripped over himself. He was not alone, still laughing, two more turkeys were flopping around in the bushes. They were trying to get a takeoff. Mud and dirt was flinging everywhere as they clumsily flapped their wings into the air directly in front of me. That distraction really didn't last long enough.
I made it home, then I got a fleeting idea, RUN TO 12 miles, its just another half a mile.
My house blurred to my left as I ran pass it. Every step my bright idea dimmed more. My right side (The butt side) was numb and my left side (My ankle) was not longer friends with me.
And just like that I STOPPED and walked home at 11.51 miles.

Distance: 11.51
Time: 1:41

"Anything worth doing is going to be difficult."
Fauja Singa:100 years old after finishing the 2011 Toronto Marathon in 8:25

Play time is coming to a close. Its getting to be that time I am going to have to get my head in the game. It frightens me.
My body is struggling.
When we set goals we have to really focus on them. It is sacrifice, sweat and pain.
I can do the sacrifice, even the sweat, but ultra running really has kept me from the pain locker. Its more of a slow death. I am going to need to be more intentional with my pace, focused on my miles and training.
We train to get better. In anything we do, we are going to need to not give up. I think this winter I am going to REALLY need to train. I know how to train easy, but I am only getting older and I am going to need to train hard.

Glass City Marathon
April 22.
Let's get Lacey to Boston!


Monday, November 21, 2016

My Poor lil ankle.

The sun was shining but I didn't let that fool me. The temperatures were still in the 20's.
Even as I am writing at 8pm I am not thawed out. I am nursing a warm cup of tea wondering how I am going to get through another winter without whining everyday.. multiple times.

I met Paula and Matt out at Holly Rec with a little reservation. The hunters really own the woods right now. I tried to get Rachel to come play with us and even she bailed with concerns of hunters.

In a hurry, I forgot a pony tail holder. I put my pink beanie on with my hair tussled beneath it. I could smell the soft aroma of my hair as the breeze blew.  My clothes came right out of the dryer with the fresh scents of fabric softener. And as a added bonus, I snuck Andy's buff and sprinkled essential oils on it. I was comfortable and surrounded with sweet aromas.  

The trail was camouflaged beneath the fallen leaves. The trees were bare, opening up the woods as never seen before. I could see throughout the forest. It was lovely.  Even in the depths of the woods the trees didn't protect you from the wind that whipped through the hardwood.
Unprotected and vulnerable to the chill that left you stunned, wondering how much more was to come.

With less than 2 miles in, running as delicately as I could, the crisp leaves disguised a hidden rock. My ankle, the weak one, twisted like a bad movie, popping in multiple places.
I winced, I tried so hard to toughen it out but had to walk it out, take a deep breath and mentally accessing myself.
Matt and Paula were very kind. We walked until embarrassment was overwhelming and I decided we should get running again. It was actually great timing, we were heading up a incline.

I have always been in the tale end, I asked Paula to jump in front of me.

We hit the first loop and headed back out for our second loop. We all were in agreement that we had warmed up. We would get an occasional gust of wind but we all feeling comfortable.

As God is my witness, we came to the place I twisted my ankle and wouldn't you know it..I hit the SAME stinking ROCK.
I want to know that stats on how that happens TWICE.

This time a word came out of my mouth that was not very Christ Like. It wasn't the throw your cards in "F-Word", but it blurted out.
"D@*# IT!"  I cried in frustration.

I was the weak link. Again we had to stop because of me. I was mortified. Paula wants to run and I was stealing all the fun.
My ankle was angry, we walked up the hill and we prematurely started running. I pulled up my big girl pants and sucked it up.
Matt was leading with Paula directly behind. That second loop was a lot quieter. The rustling of leaves on the trail was racketing enough. The quietness of our voices was actually welcomed. My mind was exploding with plenty of dialogue.
"How does Matt keep looking back here to talk to us and hasn't tripped once?!"
"Where are all the hunters, or deer?"
"I'm good, I don't want to see any deer, I'm afraid I will see a bullet right behind it."

We finished up 11 miles. Matt and Paula brought hot water and cocoa. I brought marshmallows.
My ankle felt momentarily better.
I pulled on a big hoodie and my oversized sweatpants covering up my hooker tights.
Matt prepared our cocoas.
It was nice to have a few extra minutes to chit chat and warm up with gooey hot cocoa. YUM.  

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar golden retriever behind us. The owner had her on a leash. I squatted down to pet the hyper pooch. The owner, came over to apologize to us for her dog running after us on the trail without her leash.
Having a dog myself, it really didn't bother me. Its a golden retriever, not a pit bull. I didn't get bothered by it and her dog didn't bother me any more that that stupid rock did.
Oh, if I had someone to yell at for that stupid rock I would have!

I was so worried about my tooshy giving me issues I never thought it would have been my ANKLE!

I snuck in a race..
It should be fun! Wednesday I will tell you about it.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Breaking in Winter

Three wide, into the Winds
Gray skies, shivering forward
Wintertime Running

After church we always have breakfast. I usually have our plan from Lacey by this time but my phone was vacant from any running plan from her. I waited until after breakfast and when I still didn't hear from her I thought I better touch base. The weather was gloomy, dark and windy. I was secretly hoping that she was bailing on me. I was beginning to see myself in shorts running around the track at GAC all footloose and fancy. The sauna was looking real good too.  Before I continued daydreaming I thought I better touch base.

ME: Was up
ME: Its 17' degrees with wind chill.
Lacey: So sad so cold
ME: U want to run? Or bail? I know you  have an early soccer game.
Lacey: Run run fun
ME: Ok..time
Lacey: No one's bailing. Are you kidding me SUCK IT UP
ME: Ahh!! Ok!!

Lacey was ready to roll. She was knocking on my door 25 minutes later.
Andy was finishing getting dressed to run with us.

We got our butts KICKED out there. We took off into the wind and it seemed like the wind just hit us from every direction.
It was piercing. We just laughed the more we got blasted by the brisk winds. We laughed until even our cheeks hurt. Our words slurred like drunken runners. But our face muscles were not working properly.
Lacey and I were talking way more, so our symptoms were not as serious as Andy's. When Andy did get a word in edge wise we laughed at his blubbering sentences.
I tried to run behind Andy to block the wind but he was running too slow. Somehow, Andy found a sweet spot behind Lacey and I, letting us take the brunt of the wintery weather.

We knocked out 10 miles. And maintained a decent pace.
ATTIRE: NB Running tights, 1 thermal running shirt and 1 jacket. Buff, light weight hat and gloves. Smart wool socks
I wore tights because I was afraid, deeply afraid the wind would cut through baggier pants. AND ugh, they were so stinking tight. I think that is why Andy was actually running behind me. Double UGH!

Its time to SUCK it up I guess. Winter has shown up.